Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Economy | By

The Kindle is made by underpaid workers

The Kindle is made by underpaid workers

Amazon shares ended in the red in the US Friday and are now poised to open lower Monday, following a report criticising the working conditions of staff at a Foxconn factory in China that produces a number of Amazon tech goods.

The China Labor Watch found workers earn about £233 a month, less than half the national living wage of £530, calculated for China by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance.

A factory in China that builds Amazon Kindles and Echo Dot devices is facing accusations of worker mistreatment over low pay and long hours.

According to the report, workers tasked with putting together Amazon Echo devices and Kindle tablets were required to work more than 100 hours of monthly overtime during peak season - almost three times the 36 hours per month limit stated in Chinese labour law. The 94-page China Labor Watch report found that temp workers were not paid overtime, and unlike full-time workers did not receive sufficient safety training. "The hourly rate includes an attendance bonus, and workers who take more than two days off or are late more than twice a month would receive wages calculated by a 13.5 RMB/hour ($2.11 USD) standard for the month".

Foxconn, a consumer electronics manufacturer, said it's "aware" of the report and is conducting a "full investigation".


It's report controversially alleges that Amazon "profits from secretly oppressing its supplier's workers". Amongst a number of labor violations, the group discovered that laborers were required to work at least 100 hours of overtime per month- Chinese law caps overtime at 36 hours per month.

Amazon said the factory was audited in March and found that dispatch workers and overtime were issues that concerned them.

But now a United States watchdog group, China Labor Watch, has alleged fresh worker violations and harsh working conditions at the Foxconn factory in Hunan province.

Long work hours, poor training, and an illegal workforce makeup are among dozens of troubling allegations presented in the report. Amazon also added that regular checks were being conducted to validate that implementation of the corrective action plan was taking place and that the factory was becoming compliant with their Supplier Code of Conduct. Both the hiring of dispatch workers and overtime were identified as "issues of concern" that Amazon requested Foxconn address. Amazon regularly assesses suppliers, using independent auditors as appropriate, to monitor continued compliance and improvement.

Foxconn, which also makes Apple Inc (AAPL.O) iPhones, came under fire in 2010 for a spate of suicides at plants in China.

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